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Resources for Sharing Real-Time Vaccine Information

Resources for Sharing Real-Time Vaccine Information
Updated Apr. 6, 2021

Virtual communication tools, like virtual town halls, livestreams, and social media, offer public health professionals the ability to engage and disseminate vital information to the public while maintaining social distancing. Use the resources below to help you leverage these tools.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website. Linking to a non-federal site does not constitute an endorsement by HHS or any of its employees, or the sponsors or the information and products presented on the site.

Non-CDC resources for virtual meetings:

Hosting Virtual Town Halls

Virtual town halls allow you to connect with your audience. By following guidelines for conducting virtual town halls, you can effectively connect with your audience to communicate information, interact, answer questions, and listen to public concerns. Below are some basic guidelines.

Prior to events:

  • Schedule events for no more than one hour and develop an agenda so participants know what will be discussed and when.
  • Designate a facilitator to navigate the flow of the chat throughout the meeting and assist with questions and answers from the audience during the event.
  • Consider inviting key personnel as panelists or attendees to the meeting and introducing their roles (e.g., vaccination communications professionals, health department professionals, healthcare providers, etc.).
  • Ensure all materials are provided in an electronic format. Materials can be emailed or made available on your website.
  • Include a statement on your website and in all other communication mediums asking attendees to specify any accessibility/508 accommodations they need. Ask respondents to provide their name, email address, and phone number when submitting a request. Try to anticipate audience needs beforehand, like having an ASL interpreter and by ensuring the materials you provide are accessible/meet Section 508 standards.
  • Consider hosting a practice event to test your technology and the speakers’ access to the platform.

During events:

  • At the beginning of virtual meetings, introduce panelists and share links to materials. Describe the features you will use based on the platform’s capabilities, such as a chat feature for questions or a “raise hand’ feature. If you do not have the ability to mute your audience, remind participants to mute themselves to avoid interruptions.
  • Include short pauses to take questions or comments during the event or allot time for discussion and for questions and answers at the end of the presentation.
  • Provide contact information for questions that may not be addressed during the livestream.
  • Make sure to provide a credible source of information (for example, the health department or CDC website) so people can find additional information later.

After events:

  • Send a follow-up email, including important resources, a summary of topics discussed during the meeting, and contact information for any additional questions that were not addressed during the meeting.
  • Schedule follow-up meetings as necessary.

Hosting Web or Social Media Livestreams

Prior to a livestream:

  • Schedule social media livestream events for no longer than 30 minutes.
  • Create an announcement post to inform followers of the upcoming livestream.
  • Circulate reminders to promote the event.
  • Develop an agenda or have a plan for what will be discussed during your livestream.
  • Develop a library of content. Be sure to follow plain language principles and social media best practices.
  • Designate a moderator to monitor the chat throughout the meeting. This person can also assist with filtering questions and answers from the audience during the event.
  • Review best practices for conducting livestreams via the specific platform you plan to use.

During a livestream:

  • Be responsive and interactive to make the event feel more like a two-way conversation than a lecture.
  • Designate a moderator who is not participating as a presenter to monitor comments and direct them to the facilitator.
  • Include short pauses to take questions or comments during the event, or allot time for discussion and questions and answers at the end of livestream.
  • Offer context constantly; since participants can join Facebook Live at any point, periodically restate your initial introduction to let your audience know what is happening.
    • For example: “If you’re just joining us, welcome to our broadcast. We’re currently talking about [topic] and we’ve just covered [previous topic].”
  • Provide contact information for questions that may not be addressed during the livestream (if feasible).

After livestream:

  • Send a follow-up email, including important resources, a summary of the topics discussed during the livestream, and contact information to answer additional questions that were not addressed during the stream (if feasible).

 Additional resources:

Tailoring Social Media Content

Social media is one of the fastest ways to share information about COVID-19 vaccines with target audiences. It is also a great way to promote web content or start a conversation with community members.

Key information about COVID-19 vaccines to share on social media include benefits of vaccination, the importance of vaccine confidence, vaccine safety, and vaccine effectiveness, and commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines. This type of information can be disseminated on social media platforms, including but not limited to health departments’ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages.

Tips for tailoring social media content:

  • Repurpose web content for social media communication from credible sources.
  • Use common hashtags that will increase visibility of posts (e.g., #COVID19, #WearAMask, #SleeveUp).
  • Like, share, and retweet CDC or other trusted partners’ preexisting COVID-19-related content when able.
  • Use graphics and videos whenever possible and appropriate; eye-catching visuals increase likelihood of views, shares, retweets, etc..
  • Include credible links, graphics, and resources that align with CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines and recommendations.

If you don’t have time to write your own messages, all of the social media content provided in CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Social Media Toolkit can be used via your social media channels, too.

Here are some other dos and don’ts for tailoring social media content:

Dos and Don’ts for tailoring social media content
DO . . . DON’T . . .
Write messages using plain language to help readers understand them and to make them more compelling. Use language that your audience uses in their everyday conversations. Don’t use complex technical jargon, acronyms, and scientific language.

For example, don’t say “adverse events.” Say “side effects.”

Take care to create an inclusive environment for all of your attendees and specific populations, such as communities of color and LGBTQ+ persons; be aware of pronouns. Don’t make assumptions or include negativity about specific populations. Don’t use slang, profanity, or disparaging words.
Allow for creativity while keeping information brief. Don’t rant or overshare too many details that would confuse or deter the reader.
Engage with others and encourage them to engage with you. Don’t encourage arguments or become involved in negative dialogue.
Keep communication professional, but fun. Don’t use excessive hashtags.

Develop a plan to help address how you respond to positive and negative comments on social media posts. Common practices include:

  • Determining what types of comments to respond to and how
  • Preparing a library of responses
  • Referring audiences to an FAQs page that you can share a link to
  • Using plain language guidelines and clear communications when responding